(Reuters) – World number three Rory McIlroy has earned praise for upholding the spirit of the game after a bizarre incident in his second round at the PGA Championship.
The Northern Irishman’s tee shot on the third hole sailed way right of the green on Friday, before the ball was accidentally stepped on by a TV reporter in the rough.
McIlroy was entitled to replace the ball under the supervision of the official without penalty, but said he was “uncomfortable” having dropped it in a more favourable lie which gave him a potential chance to save par.
“The rule is try to replicate the (original) lie,” he said. “No one really knew what the lie was, but if everyone is going around looking for it, it obviously wasn’t too good.”
He pushed the ball much deeper into the rough and eventually had to settle for a two-putt bogey.
“At the end of the day golf is a game of integrity, and I never try to get away with anything out there,” said McIlroy, who signed for a 69 to finish one-under for the tournament – seven shots behind halfway leader Li Haotong.
The 31-year-old earned plaudits on social media and during the television commentary. One Twitter user wrote: “Class from Rory as he asks for a worse lie #integrity.”
British Open champion Shane Lowry was also trending on social media after he snapped a club over his knee in frustration during his second round.
The Irishman started the day with birdies on the first and fifth, but his title bid suffered a blow after a run of five bogeys in six holes – the last of which meant he finished the round with just 13 intact clubs in his bag.
A birdie on the 15th helped Lowry regain his composure as he carded a 72 to stay eight shots off the lead heading into the weekend.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)